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All-white killer whale spotted for first time in Alaska

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 19/08/2020 Luke O'Reilly
a dolphin swimming in a body of water © Provided by Evening Standard

An all white killer whale has been spotted off the coast of southeast Alaska.

The young whale has been named T'luk, which means moon in the language of the indigenous Coast Salish people.

He was spotted swimming with two adult whales by a group of tourists along the shoreline of Kuiu and Kupreanof islands

Dennis Rogers, owner of Alaska Sea Adventures, told KFSK Radio he was on a charter trip with eight guests when they spotted the white killer whale.

“It sure made spotting him easy," Mr Rodgers said.


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"When they went down under water, usually they disappear and typically very hard to follow.

"But having a white one under the water you could see him an easy ten feet below the surface, this big white shape moving along there.”

Despite his all-white colouring, researchers do not believe that T'luk is an albino whale.

a lake with a mountain in the background: The whale was spotted off the southeast coast of Alaska (Unsplash) © Provided by Evening Standard The whale was spotted off the southeast coast of Alaska (Unsplash)

Jared Towers, a killer whale researcher with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, said T'luk was more likely to be white due to a lack of pigment than albinism.

“I don’t believe it’s an albino whale," he said.

“It’s not quite pure white and it doesn’t have the pink eyes that would indicate albinism."

While unlikely to be albino, white killer whales are still very rare, with just two currently alive, and five or six documented off the coast of southeast Alaska in the past 80 years.

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